To promote sustainable development in the regional coffee sector, the Lao Government has set up a district council whose task is to steer coffee production. The council consists of up to ten different members, each representing a key actor of the coffee value chain. Each player (or group of players) assumes the role of one of these actors. The actors/players then negotiate and make decisions about the coffee sector in Laos.
Vanhmani Keovilay grows coffee for a living and belongs to a local cooperative. She deals with village middle buyers and multinational companies, and occasionally hires wage workers.
Bounchanh Nanhthavong has migrated from the neighbouring province to the Bolaven Plateau, where he works as a day labourer for landowning farmers and multinational companies.
Khamsy Kanhyavong, a district middle buyer, makes her living from the trade in raw coffee beans, which she buys from local farmers and sells in the regional centres to multinational companies. She also occasionally lends money to farmers in need of cash.
Azwan Abdul owns several agricultural companies all over Southeast Asia. His Lao subsidiary hires dozens of workers and possesses tens of hectares of land on the Bolaven Plateau, on which it grows coffee to sell on international markets.
Pheang Souksavath works for the Coffee Association of Lao PDR, which promotes Lao coffee internationally and supports farmers, cooperatives, and companies in producing large quantities of high-quality coffee. In her job, Pheang works with a diverse range of coffee sector actors, including cooperatives, multinationals, and traders.
Somvang Phethsamone represents the Lao government in one of the coffee producing provinces in southern Laos, a sector for which he has a particular mandate. As such, he works with everyone involved to ensure the development of the sector and to uphold the central government’s interests.
Bounthong Phongchaleun manages a cooperative. The cooperative unites local coffee producers and aims to guarantee the sustainability of the coffee sector and to improve producers’ livelihoods.
Markus Zumsteg is a successful Swiss businessman who would like to dedicate part of his wealth and time to the development of Southeast Asia. He sees great potential for sustainably produced Lao coffee on the shelves of Swiss supermarkets.
René Meier has long-standing experience in the field of sustainable agricultural value chains. The NGO for which he works dedicates itself to strengthening transnational cooperation in the areas of equality and economic development in the agricultural sectors of resource-rich developing countries.
Dora Schneider works for the Swiss Office for International Development (SOD), one of whose goals is to help increase the food security and economic self-reliance of smallholder farmers. She in close contact with Lao government offices but is also open to collaborating with NGOs and investors in the region.